COLORADO SPRINGS — Looking ahead to the November ballot, Colorado Springs City Council discussed three major issues that could end up on the ballot. One of the issues would be the extension of sales tax 2C, nicknamed the pothole tax. The other two involve our park system.
2C is the five year sales tax dedicated to paving roads and making better curbs and gutters, among other things. City Council President Richard Skorman said if 2C ended up on the ballot and passed, it would focus on residential roads this time around. "It's important to extend because we have a long way to go. We did about 1,000 miles, or we will have done about 1,000 miles of roads, this will allow for 800 more," said Skorman. He also said the percentage would be reduced from 0.62% to 0.57%, but it will still generate around $50 million because the economy is better.
Council then discussed a proposed charter change, where voters would have a say in both the establishment of a park and whether or not the city wants to engage in a land swap. "It's about Strawberry Fields and also some other parks over the years, Monument Valley park, so it's whether you trust the voters or whether you trust elected officials," said Skorman. Many people showed up in support of the Protect our Parks issue, but the mayor said he is opposed to two key parts of it: the idea voters want to protect parks more than council, and that citizens are in a better position to evaluate a proposed land transaction.
The third issue discussed by City Council was about excess TABOR money. The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department said they have a proposed plan for the $7 million, and would divide it between several parks to pay for different kinds of improvements. "We think parks are underfunded, we think that's a good use for the money," said Kent Obee, one of the supporters of the Protect our Parks initiative. Those with City Council did ask how much money every household would receive if the money was returned to voters, and they said it would total to around a $30 deduction to a utility bill.
City Council said they will officially decide which issues will make it to the November ballot on August 13.
To learn more about each of the issues, follow this link. The 2C extension is item 8.I., the Protect our Parks proposed charter change is 8.K., and the excess TABOR money proposal is 8.J.